April 20, 2019

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    Jesus is the bridge and the only way to reach God. Easter restores the bond between God and His people that was shattered due to sin. Therefore, we are called to be an ‘Easter People’ with renewed hope and vigor to love and serve the Lord who humbled himself taking the form of a servant. The apostolic calling is all about being a servant to the other. Therefore the essence of Christian discipleship is service. This is a day that we need to ask ourselves do we serve others or do we expect others to serve us?

    The life of saints such as Mother Theresa, St. Francis of Assisi and some of the world leaders such as Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Nelson Mandela are icons that changed the world through selfless service to better the world.

    The task therefore on all Christaina is enormous. Let us pledged before the Risen Lord to light up the world around us with truth, peace and justice. Let’s be just in world of injustice, honest where there is insincerity and deception, love where there is hatred and jealousy and kind to the broken hearted. Thereby we could make the world a better place, the home that God created for Him and His children.

    The Easter Triduum or Paschal Triduum is the period of three days that begins with the liturgy on the evening of Maundy Thursday, reaches its high point in the Easter vigil and closes with the evening prayer on Easter Sunday. It marks the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus as elaborated in the canonical Gospels.

    Going back in time the earliest Christians celebrated the resurrection on the fourteenth of Nisan (our March-April), the date of the Jewish Passover. Jewish days were reckoned from evening to evening, so Jesus had celebrated His Last Supper the evening of the Passover and was crucified the day of the Passover. Early Christians celebrating the Passover worshiped Jesus as the Paschal Lamb and Redeemer.

    Some of the Gentile Christians began celebrating Easter in the nearest Sunday to the Passover since Jesus actually arose on a Sunday. This especially became the case in the western part of the Roman Empire. In Rome itself, different congregations celebrated Easter on different days!

    Many felt that the date should continue to be based on the timing of the Resurrection during Passover. Once Jewish leaders determined the date of Passover each year, Christian leaders could set the date for Easter by figuring three days after Passover. Following this schedule would have meant that Easter would be a different day of the week each year, only falling on a Sunday once in a while.

    Others believed since the Lord rose on a Sunday and this day had been set aside as the Lord’s Day, this was the only possible day to celebrate His resurrection. As Christianity drew away from Judaism, some were reluctant to base the Christian celebration on the Jewish calendar.

    Constantine wanted Christianity to be totally separated from Judaism and did not want Easter to be celebrated on the Jewish Passover. The Council of Nicea accordingly required the feast of the resurrection to be celebrated on a Sunday and never on the Jewish Passover. Easter was to be the Sunday after the first full moon after the spring equinox. Since the date of the vernal equinox changed from year to year, calculating the proper date can be difficult. This is still the method used to determine Easter today, which is why some years we have Easter earlier than other years.

    The State Vesak Day Festival will be held from May 15-21 at the Thotagamuwa Ranpath Rajamaha Viharaya, Thelwatta in the Galle District.Two hundred temples and Dhamma schools will be developed concurrent to this programme with a minimum of Rs.200,000 allocated for each temple to develop sanitary facilities, buildings and Dhamma schools, District Buddhist Affairs Unit sources said.

    EASTER MESSAGES

    April 20, 2019

    Easter helps us to deepen our closeness to Jesus - Catholic Bishops’ Conference
    Easter is the most sublime feast of the Liturgical Year in which we proclaim and celebrate the victory of Jesus of Nazareth the Risen Lord Our Saviour, over sin and death. We let the words of the angels resound in our ears, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen” (Luke.24.5). By virtue of His Resurrection new hope has dawned upon us and the Risen Lord lives on and invites us to participate in the renewed life He offers, states the Catholic Bishops’ Conference in Sri Lanka in its Easter message.

    The message adds: “The joyful season of Easter invites us to deepen our closeness to Jesus and to be renewed in the awareness that the Risen Saviour is alive in our midst.

    Our faith in the Risen Saviour gives us comfort as He journeys with us who experience uncertainties, trials and challenges in life. (Cf.Luke 24.13-32) Easter reminds us that Christ does not abandon His flock and that He is always with us. This becomes the root cause of Christian joy.

    “We as a nation are living in the midst of socio-political uncertainties. People's needs have to be addressed with more understanding and sensitivity. We see the poor struggling and crying out asking for the basic amenities in life. There is also an ever widening gap between the rich and the poor in our Motherland. Amidst the sky-rocketing prices of consumer items, day-to-day life is becoming more and more burdensome to the poor. While there are long term plans for economic development, urgent and vital issues of the ordinary citizen need to be resolved.

    The widespread sale and use of the drugs and their attendant evils which have reached uncontrollable magnitude are destroying the lives of the children, youth and adults. Therefore concrete and preventive steps need to be taken urgently guided by Christian Moral Principals.

    “While we thank God and rejoice in the unique gift of peace, let us resolve to act compassionately towards those who suffer because of the lack of basic requirements in life and those who cry for Justice. Our Christian discipleship invites us to recognize the face of Jesus in those who suffer.

    The Holy Father Pope Francis often reminds us of the urgency in being compassionate and just towards those in need. We need to do all we can to alleviate the suffering of those around us and all those in need.

    We are called by the Risen Lord to spread His light to drive away the social and moral evils which darken the society. May they recognize in and through us the joy and the beauty of believing in Jesus Christ and in becoming his disciples. May we become the agents of the peace the Risen Saviour communicated to His disciples.

    “We wish all our faithful and our readers the Joy and the Peace of the Risen Saviour”.

    Easter commemorates the great miracle of Jesus Christ’s resurrection - President

    Easter is one of the most important Christian festivals which commemorates the great miracle of the resurrection of Jesus Christ and I take this opportunity to offer my best wishes to the Christian community on this important occasion of religious festivity,” states President Maithripala Sirisena in an Easter message.

    The message adds: “Christian devotees around the world choose to spend the period leading up to Easter, by performing prayers, fasting and indulging in acts of self-sacrifices and engaging in religious activities.

    “Christians who recall the grief and sorrows that Jesus Christ suffered for the sake of the whole of human kind, learn to stand against violence or oppression perpetrated on human beings. They identify the viciousness and inhuman nature of all kinds of weapons used by inimical forces.

    “The world becomes a peaceful environment for people to live in, only when all the oppression and violence could be eradicated. It is very clear that violence used for power or money is not conducive for ideal human habitation. The arrival of Easter ignites the expectations of the human society to stand up together with love, peace, and respect for each other.

    “I wish all Christian devotees a meaningful and a peaceful Easter celebration”.

    Easter Sunday serves as a sombre reminder of the suffering of Christ - PM

    Easter Sunday is celebrated at the end of 40 days of Lent which serves as a sombre reminder of the suffering of Christ. That there is hope at the end of all our trials and tribulations is an important lesson that Easter teaches us, states Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe in his Easter message.

    The message adds: “At times we as individuals and as a country, tend to lose sight of the silver lining when dark clouds cover our skies. But, Christ teaches us that the path to the light is fraught with pitfalls, and can only be fought with faith.

    “Christ was a leader whose ideas and teachings were ahead of his time. He challenged the status quo and questioned traditions. This made it difficult for the majority to understand him, and he was eventually sent to the cross by some of the very people he sought to save.

    “But, he did not lose hope in his people until the very end, knowing that time will help them realise the value of his teachings; “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” All leaders must bear this cross, and not stray from the right path for popularity, but follow the example of Christ and do what is right for the people.

    “May this Easter take along a real change in our lives to see ourselves committed to individual and public well-being Christ preached and practically proved all through his life”.

    Ashok Abeysinghe, the State Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation notes that the SLTB was able to bring in a record revenue during the festive season.He said on both the 12th and 13th of April the revenue of the SLTB was over 100 Million Rupees daily.He said SLTB deployed over 5000 buses on those days for passenger service which in-turn generated record revenue.

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